WHAT DOES “PSNT” MEAN?
Being interested in these things, whenever I get the chance I ask people what they think about the big bang, evolution, and God. That is, I ask them for their views on “science and religion.” As a former astronomy professor and seminary student I have had many such chances. And there often comes a response that indicates that the two are opposed. It’s easy to see why many would think so, what with the existence of people like Richard Dawkins and places like the Creation Museum.
Yet many also say, “I see no contradiction.” But it’s really not that easy either. When one gets down to business one finds a host of issues that makes one really wonder about how God could be the way we think God is and, simultaneously, the universe be the way we think the universe is. In the face of this one can move ahead with the hard work of reconciling these fundamental poles of human understanding, or not.
IF YOU DON’T care to reconcile science and religion, then you are quite safe reading Dawkins or visiting the museum, depending on your philosophy. Atheists in this group will find nothing but comfort in Dawkins, and creationists in this group will find nothing but comfort at the Creation Museum.
IF YOU DO care to reconcile science and religion, congratulations. You are one of the many who take both science and religion seriously. And you should still read Dawkins and go the museum. There are many ways to approach this reconciliation (read about some of them in Chapter 1 of Ian Barbour’s book Religion in the Age of Science here), and psnt.net is about one of them. It may be called “Positive Science Negative Theology” (or “PSNT”), although that’s a pretty awkward phrase. But it is — so far as I can tell — unlike any other approach out there. PSNT is pro-rationality; we love to think. here at psnt.net But we are skeptical regarding rationalism.
For PSNT, the Christian contemplative tradition and its so-called via negativa (“Way of Negation”) provides the fundamental (but not whole) approach to science and theology. What this means is, to put it simply:
IN RESPONSE TO THE QUESTION, HOW CAN GOD BE THE WAY WE THINK GOD IS, AND, SIMULTANEOUSLY, THE UNIVERSE BE THE WAY WE THINK THE UNIVERSE IS?, WE SAY THAT, MORE OFTEN THAN NOT,
GOD IS NOT THE WAY WE THINK GOD IS.
Thanks for reading,